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09/13/2011 07:00:00

CHIP Hits the Home Stretch

This evening at 11 p.m. EDT, a team of students from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will start unloading CHIP—or the "Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype" house, Caltech and SCI-Arc's entry in the biennial Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C.—from a flatbed truck and will begin the time-consuming process of reassembling the structure on the National Mall.

"We are all working on 13-hour shifts every day of the week to build the house in time for the competition," says undergrad Cole Hershkowitz, the team's public-relations lead at Caltech.

On September 12, SCI-Arc announced that the project had received a $350,000 cash gift from China-based Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd., which provided the solar modules used to power the house, now officially known as the SCI-Arc/Caltech Hanwha Solar CHIP House.

The Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), features 19 teams from around the world selected to design and build the most energy-efficient, affordable, and attractive house they can. The event, which begins September 23, is intended to inspire policymakers, industry leaders, and the public to pursue a sustainable future with cutting-edge design and technology.

To read more about CHIPs construction, visit the SCI-Arc/Caltech team's blog For recent images, go to!/CHIP_2011/media/grid.

Written by Kathy Svitil